Story By: Anna Casap, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
This teenage runaway found by cops in Russia after years on the run has said she did not want to go back to her family after they allegedly kept her “in a cage like a dog”.
Yaroslava Zhuravleva, now reportedly aged 18, was identified by cops in the city of Nizhny Novgorod in Russia’s Novgorod Oblast region based on a country-wide appeal to find her by cops in her Moscow home.
Nizhny Novgorod cops told Central European News (CEN) that Moscow police had been looking for her since she was 14 when she suddenly vanished from home in July 2016. After she was found, they had sent her to Moscow.
As she is now reportedly 18, she no longer has to be returned to her family, and can choose to remain where she is, but police needed to investigate the circumstances under which she disappeared to make sure no crime had been committed and the no third party was involved,
Her reply was because she had been treated like an animal. She said: “I was kept in a cage like a dog, pumped full of medication and locked up.”
She said at the time she had fled she had been in the care of her her gran, who had kept her in the cage at her home, and had the job of feeding her psychotropic drugs. But she had managed to turn the tables and apparently tricked the Gran into taking the medication that was meant for her.
When the parents turned up worried that there was no reply on the phone, they discovered the Gran sleeping in a chair and the girl gone.
Yaroslava said: “When I decided to escape, I gave my grandmother some of the strong medication and ran away.”
After none of her relatives attempted to contact the girl local media tracked down the family, who they say admitted having the cage as described but said it was simply because they rented the property out online, and used it to lock up private property when tenants were there.
They also published a picture of the alleged cage room at the home where she was staying.
Her mum Tamara Zhuravleva said that they had no idea why Yaroslava was saying she was kept there, but she said it might be because she was allegedly hit in a car accident.
She said that the entire family including her husband and two daughters, Yaroslava and Lily, had moved to Australia in 2014 where she had been offered a great job because she was a trained geologist.
In May of that year, when both parents were not around, Yaroslava and Lily sneaked off to the beach, and Yaroslava was hit by a car. The police report from the time said she was sent flying 6 metres and landed with her head on the tarmac, according to the mum.
It is claimed that after that she suffered from a psychological condition in that although she was a child, she tried to live an adult life. The city became difficult and was mixing with boys and in the end they had moved in with her grandmother.
They said Yaroslava had become increasingly aggressive and they had found a diary under her bed where the teenager allegedly wrote about wanting to kill her relatives in a number of different ways. But they denied this had been a motivation to lock her up.
Police in Nizhny Novgorod contacted by CEN confirmed that she had been found and that her family had not visited her, but said the matter was now being dealt with by police in Moscow who had custody of the teenager while she was being interviewed and would decide if further investigations were needed.
She told them she had funded her new life as a runaway by giving English lessons for cash.
Asked about the fact that they had allegedly listed, one relative said: “She doesn’t exist any more for us.”
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